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Hoover Sweepers

Hoover Sweepers LogoClub History

The Hoover Sweepers ball club performs the game of base ball (originally spelled as two words) as a "gentleman's game" and honors the 1860s rules. Sponsored by the Hoover Historical Center, the club was organized as an official "club nine" with 16 members clad in their own Currier & Ives, vintage-style uniforms at seven games in the 1995 season. Before then, team players experienced vintage base ball by meeting one adversary annually, the Ohio Village Muffins.      

The Hoover Sweepers' organization is a charter member of The Vintage Base Ball Association, founded in 1996. The Association serves as a link for vintage base ball clubs throughout the nation, preserving and promoting the game of base ball as it was played during its formative years, stressing the high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, gentlemanly behavior, and respect for others. These values are practiced by the Sweepers' organization in addition to fulfilling the Association's requirements which include a club must:

  • Be formally organized and have at least nine members
  • Agree to support and embrace the mission of the Association
  • Present itself on the field of play in appropriate uniforms authentic to mid-nineteenth century period
  • Play a minimum of six matches in the season prior to joining the Association and continue such during each season of membership.

Love of this sport and the curiosity to observe the game in its original form gives spectators the pleasure and enjoyment which was typical of the past lifestyle reflecting 1860s simplicity, the time period in which the Sweepers role-play.

The Sweepers are a component of the Hoover Historical Center. Located inside Walsh University’s Hoover Park, tours of the Center, the Hoover family’s Victorian home are conducted hourly from 1-4 p.m., Thursday - Saturday, March through October.  Admission is free, but donations are graciously accepted.

Groups of 8 or more require advance reservations, morning reservations are available Monday - Friday.

The Center's permanent "Sweeping Changes" display preserves the history of the Hoover family, the Hoover Company and the evolution of the vacuum cleaner within the Victorian boyhood home of Company founder William H. "Boss" Hoover.

For more information on the Hoover Sweepers Vintage Base Ball Club, please contact Captain Keith "Bean Sprout" Allison at coconutsid@yahoo.com.

Club Rules

The Hoover Sweepers are charter members of the Vintage Base Ball Association which was organized in 1996. Teams within the V.B.B.A. perform base ball reenactment with a time range from the 1840s - 1920s. The rules vary within the association according to the time period the "club nine" represents, and the V.B.B.A. provides an allowance for home rules for each team. Sweepers' home rules are represented with an asterisk (*).

  • Base ball is a gentleman's game.
  • There is no bunting, sliding or spitting. Balls and strikes are not called.
  • Foul ticks are not considered strikes.
  • Stealing is allowed but the base runner may lead off the base with only ONE stride.
  • *Base runners attempting to steal may not start toward a base until the ball has reached the plate.
  • *A base runner returns safely to his previous base when a batted ball is caught on the fly.
  • A base runner may advance at risk if a batted ball is caught fair on the bound.
  • The hurler's primary responsibility is to deliver the ball as near as possible over the center of the home base and for the striker.
  • The striker is to stand on a line drawn through the center of the home base. This line is to be no longer than three feet on either side of home base, parallel to the pitcher's line.
  • A batted ball is determined by the umpire to be fair or foul by where it firsts hits the ground.
  • The striker is dead (out) when: a batted ball is caught on the fly, fair or foul; a batted ball is caught on one bounce off the ground, fair or foul; three hurled balls are swung at and missed.
  • A base runner is dead (out) when: forced at base; touched with a ball in the hand of an opponent; runs three feet or more outside of base path; interferes with fielder or base tender; does not return safely to the base following a foul ball or caught fly ball.
  • An out is made when the ball is in the hands of the first base tender before the runner steps on the base.
  • *Shortstop (rover) must play inside the baseline.
  • Fielder cannot catch the ball in a hat or cap and cannot obstruct the base runners.
  • On foul balls, ball must go to the pitcher (hurler) - then outs can be made by getting the ball to the base the runner is returning to before the runner arrives.
  • *Bases may be less than 90 feet apart.
  • An ace cannot be tallied on a caught foul ball or if the striker is put out at first for the third out of the inning.
  • All disputes are arbitrated only by the team captains and the umpire.

Learning the Language

Aces - Runs 
Leg it - Run to base
Behind - Catcher
Match - Game
Cranks - Fans
Player "Dead" - Put out
Club Nine - Team
Rover - Shortstop
Foul Tick - Foul Ball
Striker - Batter
Hurler/Thrower - Pitcher
Hands Down - Outs